Before spending any time in Italy, I thought that Italian food consisted of some type of pasta and a tomato sauce. While this does happen quite frequently, there are just as many recipes without tomatoes as with. That being said, I love a simple tomato sauce. The basic version is quite simple, requiring only a few ingredients and a few minutes.
1 small onion
2-3 cloves of garlic (or about a tablespoon of minced garlic)
2-3 Tablespoons of olive oil
a pinch of red pepper flakes
1 14 oz can of tomatoes (either diced, crushed, pureed...however you want them)
a pinch of sugar
a couple pinches of basil (about 1 tablespoon)
chop up the onion fine and saute it with the garlic, red pepper flakes (if you want a sauce with more kick, add more red pepper flakes) and olive oil on medium heat until the garlic is lightly browned and the onion is transparent. Add the tomatoes, sugar and basil and stir, turning the heat to medium low and simmering until the excess liquid of the tomatoes cook off. Combine with pasta and enjoy. To really make it work, a good Parmesan or Pecorino is essential to topping off the finished product, but that is only my humble opinion.
There are many variations that can be done with this. I really enjoy mushrooms, zucchini, sausage and wine cooked in as well. Once you get a good base sauce down, you can experiment with lots of different options. High five Bain. Buon Appetito!